Then I had a lively meeting with my boss and the head of customer support, about database maintenance. We made plans to move a few machines around, and considered the problem of our strained electrical wiring. We gathered around my laptop and prodded one of the Linux servers in the basement, over the wireless network.
Any geek reading this will understand the brilliance of a PowerBook G4, when I say that I opened an SSH session to the web server in one office, on one wireless staion, then shut the laptop -- putting it to sleep -- walked over to the other office, opened the laptop -- waking it back up -- and it automatically found the other wireless base station, and continued my SSH session just as before. Brilliant.
So then a few calls came in, and I modified the encryption level of the password protection on the website, then helped a co-worker deal with an external firewire drive, then helped another co-worker with her Photoshop script, then helped my boss with an HTML formatting issue, then reconfigured a windows fileserver by manipulating it remotely on my laptop, then spent a few hours hacking away at my Perl/SQL/CGI quiz-building, -taking, and -reporting tool that's being put to use next month.
A lively day at work.
Then I left work, wearing my iPod, and got into the car. Since the new iPod has a line-out on the bottom, I can actually plug it into the car amp and then unplug my headphones, with no interruption of the music at all. Drove to the store, not minding the major traffic. Said hello to Grace at the counter, and she made two big veggie-burgers with 'the works', which I then drove downtown to mah girl.
I sat on the guest stool at her workplace and we had lunch together, with They Might Be Giants playing over the store PA. She showed me the big carvings of the fertility goddess that weren't selling so well, and told me she wanted to get a cheap 25-pound bag of rice to build a display for them. She showed me the crafty little wooden cats, and made them prowl around my shoulders and kiss my nose.
I decided to help her out by purchasing the rice for her, so I drove to CostCo, listening to "Harem of Dogs" by Muslimgauze. The digitally sandwiched keyboard sound, like the endless reverb of a zither with every string plucked, evokes that feeling of burning, oppressive desert heat and wasteland, making a nice counterpoint to the oversized plenty of a bulk shopping outlet.
I bought rice, and water. On the turnpike to the freeway, a motorcyclist pulled into the adjacent lane to go around a slow car, and an impatient driver came racing up from behind, buffeted along him, and threw him to the pavement, where his bike pinned him down. I shut off my engine and ran over to help, as a half-dozen others did.
A burly man pulled the bike upright, and the rider struggled free. He stood, with one arm wedged inside his leather jacket, gripping his opposite shoulder. The driver of the vehicle, an edgy looking spanish woman, stood a few yards away, uncertain. It was unclear whose fault the accident was.
The grizzled man, still wearing his helmet and shades, made a dismissive gesture at the woman with his free hand, as if to say that he wasn't going to pursue any damages. He was too traumatized to speak, but still willing to play his tough male role. I had my camera in the car, but with the bike upright and moved, and the man standing, I didn't think pictures would help. Looking back I regret not taking a dozen pictures anyway, and giving the man my phone number in case he needed copies. He may have serious injuries, despite his bravado.
I drove home in a sober mood, and read tech articles online, and chatted for a while. Soon it was time to pick up my beloved from work, so I drove back downtown, and walked to her building with a giant bag of rice over one shoulder. She gladly accepted the rice and I perused the shop windows while she set up the security system.
On our drive home, the distant lights flashing on the roller coaster made us a spontaneously decide to visit the Boardwalk. We stopped at home for a change of clothes and some leftover yellow curry, and then zipped the three blocks to the Boardwalk by car, since the place would only be open for another hour.
The cashier at the booth surprised us by announcing that it was "60 cent Tuesday", and all rides were one ticket each. My beloved and I bought eight tickets, and a large pretzel which was, against all odds, vegan and kosher. The man at the cart even had the original box to prove it. We meandered through the streaming crowds, pointing out funny looking people in interesting clothing, working our way towards the ferris wheel.
At the top of the ferris wheel, whose rocking benches made me uncharacteristically queasy, I hugged my beloved and mused to myself that, when I was younger, I never understood how my parents and adult friends would ignore almost everything around them at a park or a fair or a ceremony, and instead notice the people. They would point out people who did funny things, or had interesting clothes or expressions. I never understood why people were so fascinating to them. And now, I suddenly find that they are.
There are probably many reasons why, but I don't feel like detailing them.
From our perch on the ferris wheel we could strategize, and plan our next rides. There were a few new ones in the park. One in particular -- a gently swaying flower shape -- looked inviting. We smooched for a while on our bench until the wheel operator unloaded us, then we made for the roller coaster. The lines for it and the new-fangled flower ride were too long, so we made a quickie tour of the haunted castle, and took a few spins on the carousel, a ride I seem to enjoy more the older I get.
Then the Boardwalk shut down, so we drove to Safeway, having an animated discussion about city ordinances. There we bought two varieties of cereal: healthy and unhealthy. In addition we snagged some romaine for a spontaneous vegan Ceasar salad.
The Food Bin -- rather, the Hippie Store as we call it -- did not have vegan Ceasar dressing, so we stopped by the Saturn Cafe and bought a buck's worth of theirs, in two little plastic cups. Unfortunately the lip popped off one and poured dressing all over my girlie's pants, and the passanger seat. We cleaned up the seat pretty well at home, but the pants were ruined.
Then it was a night of creepy ambient music, foot massages, and more interesting conversation, this time about design principles, and the subjective judging of other people's social outlets and how that is at odds with our egalitarian nature. My big point of the evening:
"It blows my mind every time I remember that, every person on this planet had to be studiously trained not to piss in their own bed. I'm amazed society even exists, and works at all."